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Arts & Life

New Space Stores Native Archives

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American Indian College Fund
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A new space to store Native history is open in Sisseton. The buildings provide a place for students and the public to learn about Dakota culture.

Two new buildings at Sisseton Wahpeton College house native archives and Dakota language classes. Erin Griffin is the Director of Dakota Studies at the school. She says the expansion helps keep the culture alive. 

“It’s not just important it’s vital to our existence as Dakota people. The language, the culture and arts, our history—they all go hand in hand. I think if we start to lose these thing, then I think a huge piece of our community would be missing.”

The additions were funded by several grants. Griffin says the school worked closely with the Minnesota Historical Society to develop their plans. Traditional items like tools and artwork from Native tribes around the region are kept in the archive building. The other building is called the Log Cabin.

“The important thing about this space is that we have a home, we have a shelter for these important things that we’re trying to do. We talk about the Log Cabin as being a home for the language now. It’s a safe place to learn these important things about who we are as Dakota people.”

Griffin says the school hopes to open language classes to the public in the future. The archives are available to view by appointment.